Jim Cheney has challenged us to share how we demonstrate thankfulness to our clients. This is an appropriate thing to consider this Thanksgiving season.
I think the most important way to show thankfulness to my clients is to give them the best service possible. I am careful to explain everything to them throughout the process. If they are a buyer, I'll talk to them about the importance of speaking with different lenders to find one they are comfortable with and that is reliable (not just the lowest rates). I talk to them about each step of the transaction. I warn them about hiccups that may occur along the way and how they can protect themselves. Once they are under contract, I provide them a calendar of events so they can keep track of the process and I regularly follow up to ensure nothing is missed or to answer questions. There's far more to it, but this gives you an idea of how I demonstrate my thanks to them from the very beginning. The same is true for sellers.
Once the transaction closes, I like to give my clients a small gift. I try to customize these because everyone has different needs. For the single mom with a tight budget, I may buy a gift card or a one-year home warranty so she doesn't have to stress about major expenses that first year. For a client moving out of state, I may provide them with a nice coffee-table book that highlights the beauty of our City or State (this is partly selfish because I want to encourage them to come back!) For repeat clients, particularly investors buying strictly for business purposes, a nice steak dinner and some time to talk about non-business life tends to be just the ticket!
Once the transaction is complete, I still try to stay in touch with phone calls, emails, or cards around the holidays to let them know we still appreciate their business and their referrals. Finally, we live in a small community so we get the opportunity to run into many of them in our day-to-day lives.
The closing gifts, dinners, and on-going contacts are important but the real impact comes from giving them the best service we can provide during the transaction.